Magnolias: Araluen Botanical Garden

Episode: 8
Title: Magnolias: Araluen Botanical Garden
Broadcast: 24th October 2015
Presenter: Trevor Cochrane

With the massive popularity of evergreen magnolias like ‘little gem’ in recent years, you will probably be astounded to know that they are one of the most ancient of flowering plant families on the planet that are endangered. 38-50 million years ago, magnolias were widespread and are one of the main flowering species. Today, there are about 80 species of evergreen magnolias and 200 species of the rarer deciduous forms.

  • Most magnolias have fragrant flowers making them ideals addition to gardens but the deciduous soulangiana forms are quite literally flower machines producing spectacular displays in early spring.
  • These plants produce their flowers by covering their naked stems with buds coming out of winter and the following flower display is designed to attract pollinators such as bees. The leaves will arrive later, right now it is all about the sex and without bees, reproduction is not possible so they do not want things like leaves getting in the way of their business.
  • Do not ever allow them to dry out so ensure if your soil tends to dry easily that you have good mulch across the soils surface and if your summer is long and dry, irrigation is essential. In sandy soils, adding clay like soil solver will also help retain moisture and nutrients near the trees’ shallow surface roots.
  • It is vital to protect them from hot dry winds and you will get amazing results if you can protect your trees from the hot easterly and harsh westerly winds.
  • These trees and a huge selection of plants that you can’t find in the city are enjoying the environmental sanctuary of the Araluen valley with its deep rich soils, high rainfall and sheltered position.
  • Araluen is a great place for families to enjoy a picnic and get back in touch with Mother Nature. There are quite a few different magnolias to check out and early spring is the best time to do it as they are all in flower including the stellate species, the soulangiana’ forms and different cultivars of soulangiana.
  • Deciduous magnolias can be found in a specialist nursery like Garden Elegance or Guildford Town Nursery are the places to go to seek the best selection. They are not cheap and are an investment but having the right spot, this time next year your garden will turn into a riot of colour.

Araluen Botanic Park: Contact - 08 9496 1171